B1 Non-refereed journal articles
The Past, History, and Corporate Social Responsibility (2020)

Phillips, R., Schrempf-Stirling, J., & Stutz, C. (2020). The Past, History, and Corporate Social Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 166(2), 203-213. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-019-04319-0

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsPhillips, Robert; Schrempf-Stirling, Judith; Stutz, Christian

Journal or seriesJournal of Business Ethics



Publication year2020


Issue number2

Pages range203-213


Publication countryNetherlands

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/66845

Additional informationEditorial Essay


An emerging body of research recognizes the importance of the past and history for corporate social responsibility (CSR) scholarship and practice. However, the meanings that scholars and practitioners can ascribe to the past and history differ fundamentally, posing challenges to the integration of history and CSR thinking. This essay reviews diverse approaches and proposes a broad conceptualization of the relationship between the past, history, and CSR. We suggest historical CSR as an umbrella term that comprises three distinct theoretical perspectives. The “past-of-CSR” perspective is concerned with the history of CSR and business ethics as a set of concepts and practices. The “past-in-CSR” perspective involves employing empirical historical research to substantiate and elaborate CSR concepts and theories. Finally, the “past-as-CSR” perspective seeks to understand the past as a living, yet contested, facet of current organizations, influencing contemporary perceptions of corporate and managerial responsibility. We then elaborate on conceptual issues and paths that may prove useful for future research. In all, this essay and the thematic symposium it precedes strive to deepen and broaden the salience of the past and history for thinking about business ethics and business responsibilities.

Keywordssocial responsibilitybusiness ethicshistorical researcheconomic history

Free keywordscorporate social responsibility; business ethics; historic corporate social responsibility; historical research; organizational history; uses of the past

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2020

Last updated on 2024-03-06 at 11:34